A Blog by International Students at Leiden University

Dutch Lesson #3 (and why I am glad)



                  dief = (n.) thief




Lieve dief (dear thief),


Happy New Year! I hope you’re enjoying my laptop. Its street-value is probably around the €50 mark but it was worth quite a lot more to me. All of my Leiden work was on it and (although you’ve probably realised by now) my USB key was housed snugly in the same bag so you have literally everything I’ve done since September. I was 2000 words into a large project for one of my courses which I now have to start from scratch and that notebook that was nestled down the side next to the charger? Yeah, that has all my notes in it. You didn’t just steal my laptop; you robbed me of weeks of work, a relaxed New Year’s Eve and a small chunk of my faith in humanity. You also have the next Leidener article that I was working on – I’m not sure what you think of it but any feedback you may have, feel free to post on here if you get the chance.


Luckily, I have sympathetic friends. When I finally made it to their house (albeit sans computer) they made me coffee, gave me biscuits and did and said what they could to make me feel better about the situation. Some called you every name under the sun. Others were more forgiving. One reminded me that all was in fact not lost and that maybe I should be glad it wasn’t worse. After all, I wasn’t physically harmed in the process (despite being mentally in turmoil) and I still had all of my arms and legs. At first, I didn’t find that particularly comforting but after a while I somewhat came round to the idea so out with the old and in with the new and therefore, thanks to you, I’m starting 2014 with reasons I’m glad rather than regrets from the previous twelve months:


1. I’m glad I still have three weeks to finish my project; I sure as hell now need it.

2. I’m still glad I came down to London for New Year’s Eve because hanging out with my friends was so much fun, despite my computer trauma.

3. I’m glad I had my photos from my trip to Iran this summer backed up – I would have been so sad to have lost them.

4. I’m glad I went to Iran in the first place. My parents were worried and even I was a little nervous as I approached the border, overland from Armenia. However, it turned out to be the best trip of my life and my personal highlight of 2013. The things I saw were unforgettable and the kindness of the people I met really touched me. A piece of my soul will stay forever in Tehran (cheesy, but true).

5. I’m glad I couchsurfed with Mo whilst I was in Armenia. Staying with him was awesome and being a Leidener himself, he gave me so many invaluable hints and tips about moving to Holland, even letting me stay with him and his housemates for a while when I first arrived in Leiden with nowhere to live. I still need to return the favour!

6. I’m glad I decided to study in the Netherlands. Moving to Holland has been a fantastic experience; the people are so friendly, the admin side of life so easy (some would disagree with me but I used to live in France – total cauchemar) and the country felt so quickly like home.

7. I’m glad I chose Leiden for my Dutch adventure. I remember being a little nervous about moving somewhere so ‘small’ but my initial fears were completely dumbfounded. There’s so much going on in the city and I’ve benefitted from so many great opportunities that I know wouldn’t have come my way outside of Leiden. I probably wouldn’t have gone to the International Open Day in The Hague where I learned about possible internship opportunities at various international organisations. I wouldn’t be going to Harvard in February where I’ll be representing Leiden at a global Model United Nations’ conference. I also wouldn’t have met all the awesome people I’ve met here who are definite friends for life (and I certainly wouldn’t be writing for the Leidener!).

8. Finally, I’m glad I never spent ages cleaning all the dust and crumbs out of my laptop keyboard. That would have been a complete waste of time…


So Happy New Year ladies and gentlemen, may the year 2014 be a prosperous one for all of you and may you have as much to be glad of as I do.

Also, may I never have to go through this sodding experience ever again.



Andrew x

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This entry was posted on January 4, 2014 by in Andrew, Study, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , .

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